AI Pores Over Old Scientific Papers, Makes Discoveries Overlooked By Humans

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When AI isn't busy taking our jobs, it's making brand new scientific discoveries that our clunky human brains somehow overlooked. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory trained an AI called Word2Vec on scientific papers to see if there was any "latent knowledge" that humans weren't able to grock on first pass. The study, published in Nature on July 3, reveals that the algorithm found predictions for potential thermoelectric materials which can convert heat into energy for various heating and cooling applications. The algorithm didn't know the definition of thermoelectric, though. It received no training in materials science.


AI Trained on Old Scientific Papers Makes Discoveries Humans Missed

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Using just the language in millions of old scientific papers, a machine learning algorithm was able to make completely new scientific discoveries. In a study published in Nature on July 3, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used an algorithm called Word2Vec sift through scientific papers for connections humans had missed. Their algorithm then spit out predictions for possible thermoelectric materials, which convert heat to energy and are used in many heating and cooling applications. The algorithm didn't know the definition of thermoelectric, though. It received no training in materials science.


Text Mining of Scientific Literature Can Lead to New Discoveries

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Berkeley Lab researchers (from left) Vahe Tshitoyan, Anubhav Jain, Leigh Weston, and John Dagdelen used machine learning to analyze 3.3 million abstracts from materials science papers. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge. A team led by Anubhav Jain, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division, collected 3.3 million abstracts of published materials science papers and fed them into an algorithm called Word2vec. By analyzing relationships between words the algorithm was able to predict discoveries of new thermoelectric materials years in advance and suggest as-yet unknown materials as candidates for thermoelectric materials. "Without telling it anything about materials science, it learned concepts like the periodic table and the crystal structure of metals," says Jain. "That hinted at the potential of the technique. But probably the most interesting thing we figured out is, you can use this algorithm to address gaps in materials research, things that people should study but haven't studied so far."


Text Mining Machines Can Uncover Hidden Scientific Knowledge

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Berkeley Lab researchers Vahe Tshitoyan, Anubhav Jain, Leigh Weston, and John Dagdelen used machine learning to analyze 3.3 million abstracts from materials science papers. Sure, computers can be used to play grandmaster-level chess, but can they make scientific discoveries? Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge. A team led by Anubhav Jain, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division, collected 3.3 million abstracts of published materials science papers and fed them into an algorithm called Word2vec. By analyzing relationships between words the algorithm was able to predict discoveries of new thermoelectric materials years in advance and suggest as-yet unknown materials as candidates for thermoelectric materials.


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AAAI Conferences

Artificial Intelligence researchers have long sought to understand and replicate processes of scientific discovery. This article discusses Discovery Informatics as an emerging area of research that builds on that tradition and applies principles of intelligent computing and information systems to understand, automate, improve, and innovate processes of scientific discovery.